State GOP Fails to Censure Inhofe and Lankford
The resolution was introduced by the Osage County Republican Party, asking the state committee to censure the two senators for failing to object, on January 6 of this year, to the results of the Electoral College vote. The state committee is made up of the chairs of each of the state’s 77 counties, two committee members from each county, and various other officials, such as legislators.
While both Inhofe and Lankford are among the more conservative members of the U.S. Senate (Lankford scoring 90 and Inhofe 80 on the latest scorecard of the New American magazine, rating members of Congress on their votes, indicating their degree of fidelity to the U.S. Constitution), many activist Republicans are still angry at the failure of Congress to block the certification of the Electoral College results. They believe that in several states, such as Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, there was enough organized vote fraud to cost President Donald Trump re-election.
Lankford initially announced his intent to challenge the results, hoping to force a more intensive investigation of the election results in several disputed states, but after the invasion of the Capitol on January 6th by disgruntled Trump supporters and others, changed his mind.
“Over the last few weeks, Cindy and I have been blessed with the support of thousands of Oklahomans who have endorsed our campaign, joined our prayer teams, signed up to volunteer and donated their hard-earned money to walk with us in this cause,” Lankford said in a statement after the censure vote failed. “It is truly humbling to have such strong support from Republicans in every county in Oklahoma. I will continue to fight the good fight on behalf of every Oklahoman to ensure our values are not silenced by Washington, D.C. Democrats who want to cancel our voice and push their socialist agenda.”
Some in Oklahoma have charged that the censure resolution was part of an effort by the state chairman, former state Representative John Bennett, to help Lankford’s primary opponent, Jackson Lahmeyer, a minister. Bennett has publicly endorsed Lahmeyer over Lankford, but insists that is a “personal” endorsement, not an endorsement by the state party. Before his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and later to the Senate in 2014, Lankford was a Southern Baptist minister, serving for years as the director of Oklahoma’s Falls Creek Baptist Assembly, the largest Christian youth camp in the world.
Inhofe publicly stated before the January 6th certification vote that he did not believe that Vice President Mike Pence, serving as President of the Senate, had the constitutional authority to deny certification of the results. Inhofe, who is 85 years old, and serving in his last term in the Senate after a long congressional career, has often been a maverick – he was among the very first to publicly challenge the “global climate change” thesis, when many other politicians were reluctant to do so.
Inhofe also issued a statement in response to the failed censure resolution. “This vote is an important step in uniting the Republican Party in Oklahoma. President Biden is the most radical leftist president we’ve seen. He’s opening the border, defunding the military, abandoning our allies and the people of Cuba, promoting taxpayer-funded abortions, raising taxes, spending us into inflation and working to undermine our elections. The Republican Party must be united to defeat Democrats in next year’s election so we can stop this agenda in its tracks.”
Some Republicans in Oklahoma argue that elected officials, like Inhofe and Lankford, must be held accountable for what they consider such an important vote. Others, however, contend that it is more important to unite, as Inhofe and Lankford indicated, to prevent the dangerous agenda being pushed by the Democrats.